Tuckwell Scholarship recipient, Yaya Lu
What are you studying?
A Bachelor of Software Engineering (Honours) with a major in Human-Centric Computing.
How are you settling into life at ANU?
As a female student studying software engineering, it was very difficult to find other students with similar interests during Orientation week, but once classes started, I found myself enjoying University a lot more and it was much easier to find people with similar interests.
I have also joined a plethora of clubs and societies at ANU, which has been a great way to meet new people. I also recently purchased a bike to travel around campus with; it’s also handy when grocery shopping. Canberra’s bicycle network is very extensive so it’s generally a good way to get around.
What are the main differences?
I have always been told that college is harder than University, but now I realise they are both hard in their own way. In the International Baccalaureate, students are expected to excel in a broad range of subjects, but at University it is very specific and the only times you can do an external course is if you choose it as an elective.
Every student’s timetable is self-organised, with set lecture times, compulsory laboratory sessions, practical sessions and tutorials per week. The first week was definitely tiring, and running between lecture venues, labs and tutorials was a good workout (although not very enjoyable)! There are constantly events on campus at ANU, such as free lunch on Thursdays at Union Court, poster-selling stalls, book stalls and breakfasts supported by the ANU Student Association to assist those who do not have time to make breakfast before early lectures. The Wednesday churro stall has been one of the highlights of my past two weeks!
There were also many introductory events for clubs and societies during the first two weeks, which meant a lot of socialising and getting to know other students, whether it be first-year students like me, third-year students, or post-graduate/PhD students. There are also many student support services at ANU, such as mentoring, Academic Skills and Learning sessions, healthy eating services, a medical centre, Peer-Assisted Learning, all of which I have found are incredibly useful. I do miss everyone back in Tasmania though!
What’s it like to be a Tuckwell Scholar?
I’m so very very lucky to have this opportunity! I hadn’t really talked to the other 2015 scholars before this year (apart from a brief encounter during the interview weekend in June), so I didn’t have any idea of what it would be like to be a part of this group. There was a Tuckwell Orientation Day during O-week, where I met all of the scholarship recipients. We were each assigned a Tuckwell Fellow (ANU Academic) who helps us adjust to University life, and provides us with support when we need it.
Even though I am the only student studying Computing/Engineering in the 2015 cohort, it was very easy to make friends, as the diversity of opinions and interests actually made it easier to learn from each other, and we have all became fast friends. Everyone is incredibly kind, intelligent and hardworking with amazing personalities – as you would expect – and I feel incredibly honoured to be surrounded by such marvellous (and hilarious) company.
On top of that, Graham and Louise Tuckwell and the Tuckwell panelists have gone out of their way to make us feel at home here. Due to the long and arduous application/interview process, they were well aware of each of our abilities, and constantly reminded us about the importance of taking up opportunities and being ourselves, rather than feel pressured to achieve certain goals. This is one of the things I love about the scholarship; it rewards your personality rather than just your academic results.
This is only the second year that the scholarship has been offered at ANU, so our cohort has been able to contribute to the development of the scholarship framework and requirements as well as receive continual support and guidance from last years’ scholars. The scholarship also provides many benefits such as a free ANU gym membership, regular mentoring sessions with our Fellows, weekly dinners (which is again, incredibly useful for a self-catered student), and talks from various prestigious members of the ANU community.
Students get $20,000 a year for a five year (maximum) degree, increasing with inflation, as well as the aforementioned other benefits!